You have decided to focus your time and efforts on what you enjoy and do best and are now looking for someone to take up the slack on your social channels. Easy right? You don't want to do it and now you're looking for someone you can trust to do it for you.It really isn't that easy though is it? You're giving your brand, reputation and let's face it, a sizeable part of your life over to someone you have hopefully been recommended or perhaps read their testimonials and they sound good.
These are always the best way to go, especially when it's someone you know well and trust. Recommendations can be in several forms these days - it could be that someone currently or has in the past used the service or agency or you may have looked someone up online and seen several people from various backgrounds have written numerous reviews or personal recommendations on their account. (Facebook, LinkedIn or Google reviews).
Some come to mind because they have won awards, been in the local press (for a good reason) or shown up on your newsfeed.These can all be for legitimate reasons of course but they could also have paid for advertorials, paid for ads like Facebook Ads or Google Adwords. Make sure you do your homework and be sure you speak to them face to face and are easy to arrange to meet and call.
Now you have established that are reasonably well recommended, have been around for a while, you can reach them on a consistent basis and have current or past customers that are happy (testimonials). Now you need to know who is going to be managing your account. Will it be Phil the MD that meets you at the initial meeting or Jack the intern? If it is Jack, is he being supervised? (We all had to start somewhere...).
How are they going to be managing your account? Some agencies prefer to add your business to the Business Manager Account on Facebook, others will ask to you to add them as an Admin on your account. There are feelings from agencies about either way on how this should be done and as yet I haven't found anything unethical about either way.
Please be advised that when you have more than one Admin on your accounts, they are in a position of power to remove you from your own accounts. Agencies exist only by reputation, if anything ever untoward happened in this respect their business would be over, so by and large you can trust an established agency with this.
How are you going to pay them? Never pay cash to an established business without expecting an invoice. You have no comeback on what they end up doing to your account.
Yes, it's two way I'm afraid. Most certainly they will want a steady stream of "content" from you. This will be in the form of images, graphics, text, offers, videos, upcoming events, additions or changes in locations, new upcoming products or services, changes to opening and closing times. In fact everything you felt previously you should notify your customers about!
They will also need to have a persona they need to be "like". If you sell jams at country fairs you don't want cheeky Jack who's 23 using his effective yet cocksure wit with your potentially middle age and possibly more elderly audience. You need him (or her) to adhere to the previously successful persona (you). For the first few weeks the agency will ask you to check posts and tweets to ensure it is within personality constraints whilst they learn your boundaries.
Most assuredly you will also need to give them "avatars" of your audiences as well. These are the people they need to target for content and of course ads. They won't have the benefit of your months or years of knowledge and experience with your audience (unless they of course already handle something similar which is possible). Either way it is something I would expect every agency to ask a customer prior to starting to work with.
Now you need to sit down and compile all the above information into a workable strategy. Anyone who guarantees you several thousands of turnover in the first month with a €500 ad budget doesn't know what they are doing UNLESS you have something very unique and incredibly viral. Most businesses will need a proving period of an absolute minimum of 3 months. This is for you to build a rapport with the audience (especially important if you haven't been posting regularly previously, you have a small audience and potentially have never run an ad before).
Measuring the success is obviously very important. Every agency can see when something isn't working and will stop doing what they're doing. If this is the case they may well be in touch with you or try another image, wording or something else.Whatever the situation, you can expect the agency to demonstrate a level of measurement. It may be by sales, conversion to clients, follows or views. Normally a report is sent to you on a weekly or monthly basis. They should tally where they have started from with you and build upon that.
As you can see, it is very much a partnership. The agency cannot do this without your initial and ongoing support. What you pay for is their expertise, their knowledge and of course their time. Their time is meeting you, speaking on the phone, creating content, scheduling and of course creating ads. Also if they are responding on your pages and platforms and are expected to respond in a timely manner on evenings and weekends that is also what you are paying for. They will know the best days to post, the times to post, what content your audience is enjoying the most etc. This is what you pay for. Without your initial input and then your ongoing support it won't be enough to continually drive and improve your social media.They will also need to be able to reach you! You will need to be contactable by phone or email or have someone else be available when you're not.It's not a small task to help manage someone else's brand and responsiveness. So please do be cognisant of what this entails and always try to find someone who is personally recommended and someone you can reach and have a good relationship with.
I hope this article helps and if you have any questions about Social Media Management, please let me know.